Nikon 1 V3 and 1 Nikkor 70-300mm VR First Impressions

Nikon 1 V3 and 1 Nikkor 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 VR

Nikon 1 V3 and 1 Nikkor  70-300mm VR are part of my gear now …

After lots of give and take … due to the high price of V3 and 70-300 comparing it to what is available in the market today, I finally decided to expand my Nikon 1 system: I already have a V1, AW1 and most of the N1 lenses . You can say that for this money i can get a Sony A6000 with several lenses, an Olympus E-M10 or  E-M1 with couple of lenses or even a Sony A7 with a couple of lenses … Well, yes … and that’s what I was considering before ordering the V3. But , knowing that I already have the main Nikon 1 lenses (including the great 32/1.2 and 18.5/1.8), a Nikon Dƒ that almost replaced my trusted Fuji X-Pro1 system, and a Leica M9 system, I found that the most logical thing to do is to go with the V3. You Can check my Gear list HERE.

Why I chose the Nikon 1 V3  over the mentioned alternatives :

From the mentioned cams above, the Olympus E-M10 was the closest to compete with the Nikon 1 V3, for my needs …. the deal breaker for me was the better video quality and features, the faster AF of the Nikon 1 and the fact that I can reach 810mm for 900g …. and I was avoiding to invest in a new system.

The Nikon V3 won over the listed items in my reasoning for the following reasons :

  1. The N1 system is the most compact among the others: body and lenses weight and size.
  2. The V3 AF speed is the fastest among the others
  3. V3 features are the most complete among the others … and that’s for the 20fps burst rate, tilt touch screen, built in WiFi, no AA filter, ability to use my Nikkor F lenses in AF with the F-T1 adapter, the super fast and reliable AF system, etc…
  4. 810mm for 900g : the V3 coupled with the 1 Nikkor 70-300mm VR weights about 900g only … and here you get a reach of 179-810mm equivalent : You cannot get this in any of the system I mentioned.
  5. Great video features : slow motion in 720p resolution, very fast AF in video mode, VR in Video mode, and the ability of shooting unlimited number of full resolution stills while recording video without any interruption… all these features were a deal breaker for me when I decided to go with V3.
  6. The V1 is the only mirrorless cam that i still have since its launch in 2011. I had the M43 Lumix GF2, Sony NEX-7 and NEX-6, Leica X1, Fuji X-E1…. all were sold them afterwards to keep the V1 as my more trusted compact cam.
  7. Everyone knows that a larger sensor will produce better IQ than the 1″ sensor of the N1 system … But for better IQ , I already have the Nikon Dƒ, D800E, D3s, and Leica M9: the N1 system is a perfect system for family outings, family trips, and sports activity and as a general multipurpose, responsive and compact system.

What I like about the V3 :

  • Built Quality : I can say it is one of the best built mirrorless cams i have tested and owned in the last 5 years. The only cams that are as good , built wise, are the Olympus E-M1 and Fuji X-T1.
  • Tilt touchscreen LCD : This is one of the features i really wanted in a Nikon 1. The screen is very well built, Touchscreen is very helpful for accessing some controls, and you can even focus and shoot with touchscreen.
  • Optional EVF: I like the compactness of this EVF, and the resolution is excellent. I wished it was tillable and had a GPS feature in it like the Leica EVF of the T
  • Additional Grip: This is a necessity when using large lenses like the 10-100 and 70-300 or F-T1 with Nikon F lenses. The grip handles very well and gives you more confidence carrying the V3.
  • Controls: Controls are very DSLR like with PSAM dial, rear and front wheel, 2 customisable function buttons, ( 3 Fn buttons when attaching the grip). Not forgetting about the touchscreen controls.
  • WiFi: Finally Nikon Wifi works great on the V3. It connects very fast and uploads to my iPhone 5 very fast even in high resolution.
  • ISO: I didn’t expect the ISO performance to be this good. Now you can set it on AUTO 3200 or even AUTO 6400 in some conditions. I usually use my V1 on 1600 ISO max.

What I Don’t like about the V3 :

  • No GPS: I will miss the optional GPS that is always mounted on my V1. You can mount it on the V3, but you will have to miss the EVF if you want the GPS. i wished Nikon designed the EVF with built in GPS as Leica did with the T EVF.
  • Grip and battery access: you can shoot about 300 shots only, with the new battery. and in order to change it you should remove the grip to access the battery compartment. I don’t understand why Nikon designed the grip like that. They could have designed it with an open slot for battery access as Fuji does with their X-E1/X-E2 or opt for a quick access like Olympus did with the E-M10 grip.

What I like about the 1 Nikkor 70-300 VR :

  • Built: Again, this lens is extremely well built.
  • Size and weight: This lens weights 550g Only. It is very compact for the range and balances well on the V3 with grip.
  • Actual Focal Range: this lens has an actual range of 189-810mm.

What I Don’t like about the 1 Nikkor 70-300 VR :

  • No Pouch and Tripod Shoe : Yes, You should buy an extra pouch and the Tripod shoe for the 70-300 VR…. again, I think this is unacceptable from Nikon for a 1K lens.

A V3 review with sample photos will follow soon on my blog… Stay tuned.

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